Pope Benedict XVI yesterday appointed leading Asian theologian Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Imus
as Archbishop of Manila.
Fifty-four year-old Bishop Tagle succeeds Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, 79, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) announced, citing a letter from the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila.
At the time of the appointment, Bishop Tagle, was serving as chairman of CBCP’s Commission on Doctrine of the Faith and chairman of the office of theological concerns of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences.
Bishop Tagle was also serving as member of the International Theological Commission of the Vatican, a body of expert advisers on Church teaching.
His intervention at the October 2008 Synod of Bishops in which he advocated for greater listening by Church leaders placed him on the front pages in Rome.
Cardinal Rosales, who turned 79 last August, had announced he would retire this year and was just waiting for his successor to be named.
The cardinal, who served as Manila’s archbishop for seven years, submitted his resignation in 2007 when he turned 75, the mandatory retirement age for prelates, but the pope had extended his term indefinitely.
Asked of his greatest achievement, Cardinal Rosales cited his encounters with different people, particularly the poor.
“I think it’s having been given the opportunity to get to know the poor more, the good hearted people, the generous people who continuously help the Church. I thank all of them,” he said.
He leaves Manila's more than 2.7 million Catholics in the pastoral care of Bishop Tagle.
Born in Manila on June 21, 1957, Bishop Tagle, of Filipino-Chinese descent, went to the Jesuit Ateneo De Manila University’s San Jose Major Seminary for diocesan priests. He was ordained a priest on February 27, 1982.
In 1992, he completed his doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. Six years later he was appointed as expert at the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Asia in Rome.
Months before becoming a bishop in 2001, he was assigned by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, to participate in a series of video conferences about ongoing formation of priests.